Want to create Photoshop apps with AIR, Flash, and AS3?

Today Adobe announced the upcoming release of Photoshop CS 5.5, including API support for iOS and Android. This support includes the Photoshop Touch SDK for AS3, which I created with the help of Renaun Erickson. The Touch SDK allows you to interface directly with Photoshop from your Flash and AIR apps on the web, desktop, Android, or iOS devices. This should be particularly exciting to application developers who are keen to work on apps targeting creative professionals.

The applications that will be created are surely numerous, and the Adobe engineers will likely see the community create applications we couldn’t have imagined. To get an idea of what Adobe’s done with it so far, check out:

  • Adobe Color Lava: Allows you to mix colors on the iPad, and send them to Photoshop
  • Adobe Eazel: Create paintings with your fingers, and send them directly to Photoshop for compositing, tweaking, etc.
  • Adobe Nav: Control Photoshop tools using the iPad, including zoom and file control

You can learn more about these applications on the Photoshop.com Blog, and here’s a video on YouTube demonstrating it.

All those above apps are written in Java or Objective C; the Photoshop Touch SDK works great in native code, but I didn’t want Flash and AIR developers to be left out.

Thus, with the help of my colleague Renaun Erickson, I wrote the Photoshop Touch SDK for AS3, which allows you to drop a SWC into your Flash or AIR apps and interface directly with Photoshop. The SDK is public starting today, but you won’t be able to connect to Photoshop until you get a build of CS 5.5:

  1. Visit the Adobe Photoshop Developer Center to learn about the Photoshop Touch SDK.
  2. If you’re interested in participating in the community, join the Photoshop 12.1 Developer’s Prerelease Program
  3. Download the entire Photoshop Touch SDK. The AS3 API is listed in the docs as “Photoshop Touch SDK (AIR).” Click that, read the API’s documentation, and start coding!

You can also wait until Photoshop CS 5.5 is released, if you don’t want to join the prerelease program.

In the coming blog posts, I’ll give you tutorials and videos on how to use the PhotoshopConnection, MessageDispatcher, and other parts of the Photoshop Touch SDK for AS3 to control Photoshop CS 5.5.

If you do participate in the prerelease, be sure to use the forums and post suggestions and comments, and I’ll respond. There are many areas I want to improve and features I want to add, but developer feedback is the best way to know what I should prioritize.

Update: Here’s a video showing the three Photoshop apps more clearly

Update: As Tom Ruark points out below, the remote connections update for Photoshop CS 5 is free. Run the updater from within Photoshop to get 12.0.4, and you should have the “Edit/Remote Connections” option.

Update 6/16/2011: The Adobe Developer Connection has now published a full article I did on the Photoshop Touch SDK: check it out here. It will guide you through setting up a project, connecting to Photoshop, sending and receiving data, managing subscriptions, and some additional topics.

13 Responses to Want to create Photoshop apps with AIR, Flash, and AS3?

  1. karim says:

    Would be great to have ExtendScript AS3 Library for After Effects too. I’ve used the JS ExtendScript to create dynamic AE comps, which was great – if a little difficult to find good examples and clear docs – lots of trial and error. I can only think that being able to controll Photoshop / AfterEffect and all other CS5.5 apps via AIR / AS3 would be a handy tool in the hand of developers.

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  3. Manuel says:

    Hey guys! i just have a little question, if i already have cs5 master collection, can i update it to cs5.5? or i have to buy the newest suite?
    Should be an option to do that, maybe an update were you can pay and download a big file and run it. Thanks for your time. I really like to know the answer, and this is the right place: adobe website.

    • Tom Ruark says:

      Free upgrade to get the plumbing into CS5. Make sure you run the updater and that you are on version 12.0.4

  4. Well, finally we’ll be able to swipe our finger over a great product such as Photoshop on iPad. Can’t wait to see it working! Haven’t got my CS5.5 version yet, but I believe i’ll get it soon.
    Good job, guys!

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  7. Really looking forward to reading your next posts about AIR apps that drive Photoshop on touch devices!!
    Native code should be an option, but not the only one.
    It’s not clear to me whether AIR will be platform independent (i.e. it will works on iOS as well) or not…
    Cheers!

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